One of the earliest Hong Kong Style Cha Chaan Teng to open in Brisbane, I have spent countless afternoons after school munching away at Coffee Square. I find it to be quite an iconic and irreplaceable part of Market Square.
It has all the hallmarks of a traditional HK style Cha Chaan Teng, there are signs for what the set meals are displayed on signs. Other than the set lunch and set dinner, I note they've also recently implemented an all day special, which offers a slight variation on the set lunch/dinner in offering a large range of entrees instead of the usual soup.
Since the recent renovation, they've put three tv screens in the store, which has often been a distraction for me during meals. My companions have often mentioned that I tend to ignore them in favour of the tv when I eat there, which is an unfortunate habit.
Cutlery and tissues are provided on the table. There is also complimentary water or Chinese tea available from the counter.
We shared quite a few dishes that day. First to arrive was the soups for both set lunches. Set A which is usually a more Chinese themed meal, comes with traditional Chinese soup, the soup of the day was Lotus Root and Carrot. It was light and flavourful, and really gets the appetite going. Set B comes with what is termed "Russian Soup", which is a Chinese take on Borscht. It has a tomato paste base, with significant amounts of cabbage, carrots and black pepper in it. I really like how it has quite a zing to it and is quite intensely flavoured.
Accompanying the new daily meal was the dish of entrees. I found it an exceptionally good deal, considering it came with salad, egg, hash brown and toast. The hash brown was really crispy, and the garlic toast was cooked to near perfection by my standards. The toast was crispy on the outside, but warm and fluffy on the inside. The egg was also nice and crispy on the bottom, and the salad added a nice light touch to the plate. Needless to say I am very impressed by this addition to the menu.
In terms of drinks, they offer the usual plethora of Hong Kong Style drinks, such as lemon coke (one of my personal favourites), red bean ice, and Hong Kong style milk tea. In my opinion, Coffee Square and Chakee probably do the most convincing traditional milk tea in Brisbane. Its definitely got the strength, and they correctly know to use evaporated milk instead of regular milk.
Set A of the day consisted of chicken and veges with fried noodles. My companion said that the noodles were fried nice and crispy, the sauce was very agreeable. The chicken was done very nicely and the vegetables were fresh. His only complaint was that the noodles could have been more springy.
The daily special of the day was Singapore Noodles. It was done really quite well, having all the required essentials, prawn, bbq pork, egg, and most importantly curry powder. My companion commented that it needed a bit more flavour though.
The one thing that I would say that Coffee Square is absolutely the best at, is their Congee. I am of the opinion it has the best texture of any congee that I've had in Brisbane. What sets it apart from the rest of the other options in Brisbane is that its really well cooked to the point where the rice is really well cooked. My preferred version is the century egg and pork congee, but today we had the beef and egg congee, which added more of a yellow tinge to the usually white porridge. I really enjoyed it.
That day I had Set Lunch B, which consisted of a deep fried chicken wing, two slices of ham, a fried egg and veges served with spaghetti and black pepper sauce. I found it to be a nice combination of numerous comfort foods, which made the dish very comforting indeed.
Another dish which I got to try was the Wanton Noodle Soup. I can say without a doubt, that this is probably the closest one can get to a proper Hong Kong Wanton Noodle Soup. The noodles were just the right texture, but could be a bit more springy, the dumplings had the proper thin egg-y skin with ample portions of prawn inside. The broth was also very light and appetizing.
Price Range: $10-$15